What is postprint? A look at the general difficulty of getting the message across about postprint and the challenges for centralised registration of research and archiving in a repository. Also, ideas on how archiving author manuscripts can become part of the publishing strategy of researchers.
In 2011, all registration of research at DTU was entrusted to DTU Library. A research registration team at the Library now registers all publications centrally.
One of the major tasks for the team is to ensure that entries are registered uniformly and correctly. ‘Queries’ are used in so far as entries can be gathered from databases for which licences have been purchased. Along with the author(s), a manual process is carried out for fine-tuning and consideration of other issues, including, in prticular, the option of making publications available on an OA platform.
The team investigates whether there are any preprint or postprint versions of the publications, since certain publishers do not allow publisher versions to be uploaded. This is done using Sherpa/Romeo via PURE.
The team works diligently to explain these two steps to researchers and above all to convey the advantages of parallel publishing. It ensures that research can be accessed more easily by colleagues and others who share an interest in the field and at the same time enhances the visibility and impact of the research.
Postprint in particular causes problems. The team sends out a number of standard e-mails:
"The publisher of the journal permits you to save and publish a preprint* and/or postprint of your article in DTU's research database ORBIT"
*Preprint is the version of the article submitted to the publisher before it was edited and approved. **Postprint is the version of the article that was approved for publication, but is not yet in the journal's layout.
Postprints are also defined as the author's final version of an accepted article, i.e. after any corrections by peer reviewers have been inserted, but before being formatted/given the layout for the journal. Postprints are also sometimes known as the 'author's final version,' 'accepted version' etc.
The team receives approximately 1000 e-mails a year, sometimes including files the author believes to be the correct version. For example, researchers like to send what they describe as e-offprints for personal use only that are not to be self-archived in electronic repositories. However, the team always reads through the files thoroughly and reports back if a submitted file cannot be used. Every e-mail correspondence includes a standard description, such as the one above, explaining what the publisher in question actually allows, so that the entries in ORBIT are legal and comply with the copyright terms.
Often, the researchers do not realise that the postprint lacks the publisher's layout and design, and other times they respond saying they were asked to send a postprint, but that they are not sure what one is or if doing so is still relevant when the final version is available.
It is evident from some of the e-mail correspondence between the team and researchers that the latter believe that an article may be put on an OA platform in the publisher version precisely because the department has previously paid for OA for all articles from a particular journal. The examples discovered by our team are instances where they have written in collaboration with other universities, who are then the payer.